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The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Household Economic Well-Being

a PSC Research Project

Investigators:   Helen Levy, Thomas C. Buchmueller

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made affordable health insurance available to millions of Americans, both through expanded Medicaid coverage for very low-income adults and through the availability of new, subsidized private coverage for low and middle-income households. In addition to reducing cost-related barriers to care and providing protection from high-cost medical spending, these new coverage options have the potential to impact household budgets. As households spend less on health care and health insurance, they can use these resources for other purposes, such as consumption of food, housing, transportation, or savings. Such changes in consumption provide an assessment of the impact of the ACA on overall economic well-being, particularly for lower income households. We propose to examine the impact of the ACA on economic well-being for low and middle income households. Our analysis will estimate the impact of Medicaid expansion and the ACA's premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies on health spending and non-health consumption among targeted households. By focusing on the ACA's impact on economic well-being, the proposed project represents an important complement to studies focusing on how the ACA affects access to care or narrower measures of financial distress such as having bills past due. The proposed project fits squarely within the Russell Sage Foundation's interest in understanding the economic effects of the ACA.

Funding Period: 12/01/2016 to 11/30/2018

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